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Showing posts from April, 2012

What kind of D&D Character would you be?

For a bit of fun, here's a questionnaire to determine your identity as a D&D character. Some of the questions are pretty loaded, but on the whole it's not too bad.  (Here's the Link) What Kind of D&D Character Would You Be? (version 5.1EZ based on NEPPYMAN'S version 4.10) This survey will determine your ability scores, fantasy race, class, alignment, and character level describing what you would be if you were transformed into a Dungeons and Dragons character. This is a long survey, so set aside about 15 to 20 minutes to complete all 129 questions. Each question should be answered as accurately as possible by choosing the answer that either describes you the best or the answer with which you agree the most. The answers have been placed in random order, so read carefully. You must answer every question to get the best possible result. Given the range of ability scores and the number of race, class, alignment, and character level combinations, this survey can prod…

Gamer Statistics: A new breakdown of the numbers

According to Jessica Hammer in her blog post about the reason for "Dread's" failure at a horror convention, one of the issues is the 90-9-1 rule (this can be refenced back to an article on motivateplay).

I had some issues with that ratio, firstly because one of the standard ratios in business is the 80-20 rule (the first 80% of the work is acomplished with 20% of the effort...he last 20% of the work takes 80% of the effort). It also doesn't really mesh with the tabltop, where we typically see groups of four to six players (one of whom is a GM). Looking back at the source article, I see that the 90-9-1 ratio is derived from internet participation (not rpg participation), and like all statistics it can be tweaked according to the medium examined.

So there's no real fault in the chain of blog posts except for a little misinterpretation on someone's part.

The established ratios are:

90% - Those willing to play
9% - Those willing to step up and run a game
1% - Th…

Keeping All the Characters Linked

One of the valuable lessons from Dead and FUBAR'd was a fundamental success. It's something I was planning to incorporate in greater detail in the player's guide "A Lowlife's Guide to FUBAR", so seeing it work quite well was a great thing to see.

The core FUBAR game embodies the artistic concepts of dadaism at a fundamental level.

Players are all pulling at the narrative in different directions.
Protagonists aren't linked except through a communal story origin.
The rules provide random input into the storyline.

This is all well and good for a sandbox style of play where anything goes; but when a coherent narrative is desired, these elements could be considered distractions.

A simple ruling that links the protagonists in some way has done a lot to pull the narrative into focus.

Following the standard FUBAR mechanism of rolling three dice and allocating them between categories gave the players an idea of how the dice work before play formally began.

Relati…

My overview of the past few years in indie gaming

Over the past few years I've used this blog to look at RPGs from a variety of angles.

I spent a year going through game mechanisms, one per week. Looking at how they might be used, the effects they produce within the play environment and methods for using them in unconventional manners. This was a great exercise to see what sorts of play mechanisms exist within the RPG community, beyond simply rolling a d20, comparing it to a nmber and interpreting the result.

I spent the better part of a year developing my own metaphor theory for how RPGs actually work. A lot of work has been done by numerous people to describe how players interact with the mechanisms and pushing into the social theory behind roleplaying games, but this project had the aim of describing the fundamentals of play...when is story told? when are decisions made? how do these two options feed back into one another? What types of play experience tend to manifest when you change the feedback mechanisms between story and…

Where is roleplaying going wrong?

I had a few great conversations last weekend at Sydney's Eye-Con roleplaying convention, some of these were bout the way the roleplaying hobby seems to be going and how we can get it back on track.

My thoughts at the time led to conclusions about blaming "World of Warcraft" and MMORPGs, which aren't real RPGs, but which lure the majority of the players nto something that is a pseudo-roleplaying experience. But I even pointed out at the time...now we blame WOW, 20 years ago we blamed the rise of Magic the Gathering, and in the decades before that we blamed the rise of corporate miniature gaming conglomerates like Games Workshop. It's easy to lay blame, but hard to make the choices that might improve our hobby and spread it to the wider community.

Personally, I think the Cel*Style initiative is great. It reaches out to the anime fans with games that they might be inclined to play...and that crosses over to cosplay territory where the participants are halfway toward…

Post Eye-Con Report and new Considerations

The Con was good.

The sessions I ran were, on average, good.

Each session had its highlights, and each had it's lessons.

The most valuable lesson from this particular con was that FUBAR is a dangerous beast.

It was designed to embrace the concepts of Dadaism, with all its non-sequiturs, absurdity, and questioning of an authoritative voice.

The game system does this well.

Perhaps too well.

Providing the Oracle/GM role for FUBAR is like preparing for a rodeo, where you know that you'll be the cowboy strapped to the meanest bull in six counties. You might hold on, you might get flung into a wall, you might come through it all unscathed...but you'll definitely come away learning something about the others who shared your experience in the ring.

I never got to play the game with two players, as I had hoped during my last session (which is a shame, because I have a habit during prizegiving for providing each member of my two player sessions with an award). The four player games …

Dead and FUBAR'd Mid Con Analysis

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Because some people don't believe it happens without photographic evidence...


The game has been doing surprisingly well with a variety of play styles.

Five sessions down and we've seen a decent range from blatant zombie stereotypes in South Park-styled slapstick, through to characterised dark comedy.

I still haven't seen a session of serious introspection and questioning of the human psyche...but from what I've seen, the system seems robust enough that it would handle that style of play.

If I referenced what I've seen back to my vector theories about roleplaying. The game certainly suffers a bit when their are effectively eight forces simultaneously tug-of-warring in different directions to pull the story toward their chosen narrative (6 players, GM, and rules), the rules and the GM basically following along for the ride, subservient to the collective will of the players as gestalt. With four players, the GM and rules can combine their force to pull the game a bit…

Dead and FUBAR'd play verdict...

Two sessions of Dead and FUBAR'd at a convention today. One a macabre slapstick where souls degenerated into blasphemous and eldritch things, and the other a cynically black comedy where a psychopath found his come-uppance in the form of so many debilitating injuries that he simply couldn't go further without horrendous penalties.

It was interesting to see the game in full swing with two very different play styles...one of which was a rollicking rollercoaster ride while the other was more of a slow burn along a twisting winding mountain road down into oblivion. 

It was great to get some with feedback from people who played the game at the last convention six months ago, they'd gone home and tried to capture the lightning in a bottle of my GMing style with their games at home and found that the system certainly facilitates this style of play. It's not just me. I still haven't managed to play a straight up serious version of FUBAR (using any of the expansions I've …

Are there stories RPGs shouldn't tell?

The words "Cultural Appropriation" are like a red flag to a bull over on Story Games.

Any time you mention them, you'll get a bunch of people cheering you on, and a bunch of people immediately on the offensive.

There are numerous interpretations of the phrase, but generally it means to act of taking on the mannerisms and affectations of a foreign race. It's common associated with those of white European descent in their various "conquered" parts of the world. As an example, white Americans who follow hip-hop are typically considered to have appropriated the culture of the black communities who founded the genre. "New Age" hippies are typically considered to have appropriated aspects of Celtic, Native and other traditions in their amalgamated spirituality.

But in roleplaying it is often used as a buzz phrase when a setting uses a non-european paradigm for the basis of it's fantasy.

I've seen "Cultural Appropriation" used as a taun…

A few more Walkabout images

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I'm pretty happy with the way Walkabout seems to be heading at the moment. It's getting a bit surreal and starting to develop some character.